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Balnaslow (near): went one better in the 2018 running of the Foxhunters’ Chase at Aintree

Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)

The victory achieved by the Graham McKeever-trained Balnaslow in the Foxhunters’ Chase at Aintree in April appears to hang in the balance, judging by comments made this week by connections of Bear’s Affair, who was the runner-up.

Speaking at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, George Barlow, the owner of Bear’s Affair, suggested Balnaslow would be disqualified.

“We were second in the Foxhunters’ at Liverpool,” Barlow said to a group of reporters including the Racing Post’s James Burn. “The Irish horse is being thrown out, apparently.

“But I haven’t officially been told. It’s common knowledge in the racing world but they haven’t actually told me. I might get a letter any day. I’ve been waiting 230 days for the official result.”

Barlow’s Bear’s Slipper carried his colours to victory in the Foxhunter at Cheltenham in 1973, only to be thrown out for bumping a rival on the run-in.

The now-12-year-old Balnaslow, trained by McKeever in Co Antrim, had finished second in the 2017 Foxhunters’ at Aintree before going one better last year as the 11-2 second favourite.

The victory was a poignant one for connections, with owner Peggy Hagan having died the previous year.

A spokesman for the BHA said of the matter: “The BHA does not comment on investigations or speculation surrounding potential investigations.”


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